(Post is Edited from the version read out)
I remember a folklore my father used to tell us when we were kids. It was about the tortoise and the hare. Once upon a time a tortoise and a hare had an argument about who was faster. They decided to settle the argument with a race. They agreed on a route and started off on the race. The hare shot ahead and ran briskly for some time, however, seeing that he was far ahead of the tortoise, he decided to rest under a tree and soon fell asleep. The tortoise plodding along slowly soon overtook him and kept going. When the hare woke up, he saw the turtle nearing the finish line, and though he dashed with great speed, it was too late. The tortoise won the race and the animals named him champion. The moral of this story is simple: slow and steady wins the race. This is the version of the story that I grew up being told, but recently I discovered that the story did not end here!!!
After leaving in shame for some time, the hare begged for a rematch. Having learnt his lesson, this time he ran non-stop to the finish line and beat the tortoise by several miles. Even so in our modern world, the fast and the consistent will always beat the slow and steady. So it means if we are fast, we should remain consistent. I recall that was what saw my father through, rising to the apex of the public service in the span of 19 years.
Having lost to the hare, the tortoise wisely tricked the hare to a final race through a river path. Relying on his speed, the hare ran at top speed until he found himself at the river bank. Panting, he didn’t know how to cross the river, until the tortoise got there, got into the river and swam across. Alas, the tortoise won the race and regained his title. Even so, in the journey of life, we must first identify our strengths and weaknesses, and leverage on those strengths to achieve results.
Our strength as a people is the resolve, hard work and resilience displayed by many of our sons and daughters. I have observed that most Igede people doing well in various endeavors across the globe have one thing in common: they were self made. We have endured hardship that would seem unbearable to some, overcome challenges and stigmas that would seem insurmountable to others and displayed honesty, dedication and hard work that would seem unnecessary to even more in order to attain the heights they attained. Such is the true nature of the igede man. These virtues need to be exposed to the world more effectively. Thank God with the power of technology we can do that.
In memory of my late father, who believed in projecting the igede people positively and in continuation of his legacy, I am proud to present a website dedicated to this purpose.
Igede.org is an online platform that is designed to achieve the following:
- Create an online reference for Igede people, culture and history for the entire world to see and experience.
- Serve as an information base for offspring of igede people within Nigeria and outside, studying to learn more about their culture and heritage
- Make it easier for Igede people all across the nation and indeed the world to know each other and network more effectively.
- Promote greater use of the internet and information communication technologies for Igede people in general.
- Create a platform for interaction between prominent citizens of Igede land and the younger, more dispersed generation.
Igede.org has three pillars: unification, networking and content.
Unification: Igede.org is a non-political, non-religious and non-profit project and as the founder, I pledge to maintain it as such. My dream is to create a single and unified platform where all igede sons and daughters, irrespective of clan or calling, political inclination or religion can share in our mutual heritage.
Networking: Currently, the website allows individuals to sign up to become members after which they have an opportunity to view information, articles, profiles of prominent igede sons and daughters, events, notices and other information that have been posted. It also allows all registered users to post information and send messages to other members.
Content: The categories of information which we intend to put up on the website as time goes on include Igede history, profiles of prominent sons and daughters, both alive and dead, family trees and genealogies, pictures and videos of Igedeland, etc. We are currently developing a web application that can tell a visitor to the site which market day falls on any date in the calendar. All content will be sourced and provided by the Igede people who are users of the site, giving us control over what is said about our land on the internet. We are also sourcing for volunteers who can participate in sourcing all forms of content for the website.
Our earnest hope is that all of you sitting here today will give your blessings to this project and avail me and the team of what assistance is needed. We need information on Igede culture, oral literature, oral tradition and other records which you have the privilege and honor of being custodian to. We also need volunteers who will join hands to make this dream a success. Since participation is over the internet, restrictions of location are totally removed, allowing volunteers to participate and contribute from the comfort of their offices or bedrooms.
Recall the story of the hare and the tortoise from a few minutes ago. This is how the story actually ends. The hare and the tortoise became friends after the last race. One day they heard that the dog was challenging the entire animal kingdom to a race across the river. Although all other animals were afraid, the hare and tortoise answered the dog’s challenge as a team. The dog laughed and agreed, but he set a condition. They both had to beat him to the finish line to win the race. As they started the race, the hare carried the tortoise on his back and ran at top speed till they arrived at the river bank, at which time the tortoise carried the hare on his back and swam across the stream. In no time, they reached the finishing line together, just ahead of the dog. They both felt a greater sense of satisfaction than they had felt earlier. The moral of the story: it is good to be individually brilliant and to have strengths, but unless you are able to work in a team and harness each others’ strengths and abilities, you will always perform below par! In like manner, we Igede people must unite and become our brother’s keeper inorder to enhance speedy development.
Igede ka piyeeeh.